BAD25 celebrates the legendary album and record breaking BAD tour. CD one features re-mastered versions of Michael's biggest hits on the original BAD album, including, "Smooth Criminal," "Man In The Mirror," “Bad,” “Another Part of Me,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and "Dirty Diana" arranged in the same sequence as they appeared on the original album released 25 years ago. “Leave Me Alone” was added to the album as a bonus track following its initial release and has been included on the disc.
CD two offers fans a rare listen to thirteen additional tracks, six of which are previously unreleased demo recordings created at Michael’s personal studio built at his then-home on Hayvenhurst Avenue in Encino, California. Also included are all three bonus tracks from the 2001 expanded edition of BAD
, the previously un-released French version of Michael performing the classic, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” a high power version of “Speed Demon” remixed by Nero and the brand new remix of “Bad” worked on as an electrifying collaboration between Pitbull and Dutch DJ Afrojack.
A multi-million-unit-shifter, Bad was (and remains) as important to 1980s pop culture as the rise of the Walkman, the Back to the Future movies, and the shooting of JR. Like 1982’s Thriller, it’s an album that appeared to easily find a home within the record collection of rockers and poppers, punks and poets alike.
Ubiquity comes cheap in 2012 (thanks, internet), but in 1987, it was earned by being the best of the best. And Bad was just that: almost a greatest hits package, it spawned nine hit singles. Its chart campaign didn’t begin with the title cut, but with I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, a number one in both the US and UK. In Britain, Bad (the song) peaked at 3, as Rick Astley sat atop the pile.
The title track rocketed to No.1 in the US, followed by The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror and Dirty Diana. Jackson’s star was at its zenith across the 1980s – but fame never guarantees critical approval. Yet Bad was as well-received in the press as it was by Jackson’s fans. It’s a special rarity: a commercial behemoth with nary a lapse in quality across its 48 minutes.
Quincy Jones’ production is tight yet yielding, every song allowed to breathe and never cluttered by needless elements. Dirty Diana is remarkably lean, Steve Stevens’ flamboyant guitar aside, yet powerful too. Speed Demon, deemed “filler” by critics at the time, is fun funk-rock that’d sit happily on a Prince album of the period, compositionally if not lyrically.
Unreleased demos make up the majority of this anniversary release’s second disc. Amongst the most interesting are Song Groove (A/K/A Abortion Papers) and Price of Fame. The former, aggressive of percussion yet light of synth, is about a Christian girl carrying an unwanted pregnancy. “Michael knew (it) could be controversial,” read the accompanying notes; but Jackson handles the subject matter with tenderness.
Price of Fame addresses the pressures Jackson felt as a pop idol. Of his obsessed followers, he wrote: “They’ll do anything and it’s breaking my heart… It’s running me crazy.” It is, perhaps, a first instance of the cracks that’d soon spread. But nothing that was to come in Jackson’s career could ever take the shine off this awesome, evergreen and essential pop masterpiece.
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